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2009-UP-599 - Paris Mountain Utilities, Inc., v. SC DHEC

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Paris Mountain Utilities, Inc., Joe W. Hiller, and David N. Hiller, Appellants,

v.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Respondent.


Appeal From Greenville County
Larry R. Patterson, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-UP-599
Heard November 4, 2009 – Filed December 16, 2009   


AFFIRMED


Randall Scott Hiller, of Greenville, for Appellants.

Stephen P. Hightower, of Columbia, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  In this administrative appeal, Paris Mountain Utilities, Inc., Joe W. Hiller, and David N. Hiller assert the circuit court erred in affirming the administrative law court's finding that subject matter jurisdiction was appropriate.  Appellants further contest the application of collateral estoppel to pierce the corporate veil and hold the Hillers personally liable for the acts or omissions of Paris Mountain Utilities, Inc.  We affirm the order of the circuit court pursuant to Rule 220(b)(2), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1.  As to subject matter jurisdiction:  City of Rock Hill v. S.C. Dep't of Health & Envtl. Control, 302 S.C. 161, 165, 394 S.E.2d 327, 330 (1990) (finding the Department has the power to administratively assess penalties and/or damages which may occur from violations of the Pollution Control Act); S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(A) (Supp. 2008) (stating an administrative law judge shall preside over all hearings of contested cases); Mr. T v. Ms. T, 378 S.C. 127, 133, 662 S.E.2d 413, 416 (Ct. App. 2008) ("[T]he application of . . . collateral estoppel principles are not matters of subject matter jurisdiction.").

2.  As to collateral estoppel: Lee County Sch. Dist. Bd. of Trs. v. MLD Charter Sch. Acad. Planning Comm., 371 S.C. 561, 565, 641 S.E.2d 24, 27 (2007) ("This Court reviews the order of the circuit court to determine whether it properly applied the APA standard of review.");  Hancock v. Mid-South Mgmt. Co., 381 S.C. 326, 329, 673 S.E.2d 801, 802 (2009) (indicating summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine issue of material fact and it is clear the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law);  Zurcher v. Bilton, 379 S.C. 132, 135, 666 S.E.2d 224, 226 (2008) (holding when an issue has been actually litigated and determined by a valid and final judgment, that determination is conclusive in a subsequent action);  Osman v. S.C. Dep't of Labor, Licensing, & Regulation, 382 S.C. 244, 249, 676 S.E.2d 672, 675 (2009) (stating under the APA, a reviewing court may not substitute its judgment for that of the agency on questions of fact, but may reverse if the decision is clearly erroneous in view of substantial evidence);  Drury Dev. Corp. v. Found. Ins. Co., 380 S.C. 97, 101, 668 S.E.2d 798, 800 (2008) (quoting Sturkie v. Sifly, 280 S.C. 453, 457, 313 S.E.2d 316, 318 (Ct. App. 1984)) ("[A] corporation will be looked upon as a legal entity until sufficient reason to the contrary appears; but when the notion of legal entity is used to protect fraud, justify wrong, or defeat public policy, the law will regard the corporation as an association of persons."). 

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS, PIEPER, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.